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How to generate new leads

MAIN IMAGE: Jo Lombard, Luxury Market Specialist for Seeff Atlantic Seaboard; Francesca Beebe, Estate Agent at Eazi Real Estate; Pearl Scheltema, CEO of Fitzanne Estates

While success is never guaranteed, leads are an estate agent’s bread and butter. We’ve asked three practitioners to share their tips on how to keep the leads coming in.

Meet Jo Lombard, Luxury Market Specialist for Seeff Atlantic Seaboard, Francesca Beebe, Estate Agent at Eazi Real Estate, and Pearl Scheltema, CEO of Fitzanne Estates.

What have you found to be the best way to generate new leads?

Jo: Lead generation is a key part of any sales driven business. The trick is to generate quality leads and not to limit yourself to only one source. I generate leads by actively connecting with my personal and business network. Social media and online property platforms, which showcase high quality listings, are useful mediums as well. Additionally, the Seeff Property brand has also created very effective systems to connect with our customers in a meaningful way and to generate quality leads in the process.

Francesca: We’ve built a strong reputation for providing value for money and excellent service over the years. This helps the company generate more leads by leveraging our online platform and social media networks. Word-of-mouth and referrals have been instrumental in Eazi and my success.

Pearl: At Fitzanne Estates we make use of all forms of traditional and digital marketing to generate leads, focusing heavily on SEO, Google Business and content creation and marketing. We also have more than one lead magnet aimed at different potential clients, such as scheme executives or corporate bodies.

However, we still generate the most, new leads through advertising on Private Property and Property 24, as well as word of mouth referrals.

Do you share referrals with other agents?

Jo: Absolutely. A referral network is a vital tool for any estate agent. One of the first things that a new agent should do is to introduce themselves to other agents in the group that they work for, but to also tap into friends, family and other connections that they have.

Francesca: We always do our best to assist clients as far as possible. So, if we cannot help them within the Eazi team, we will refer them to a credible agency to assist. In-house we share with our colleagues when the leads are outside our areas; area-specific knowledge is essential and is in the client’s best interest.

Pearl: We do share with loyal, trustworthy agencies on a 50/50% basis.

Seeing is believing – how big is hosting an open house these days? Is it still worth it?

Jo: Despite the advances of online platforms and video technology which can provide very vivid images and 360-degree walk-throughs of properties, many buyers and investors still want to see the property before they put pen to paper. Within this context, show days are still a vital tool for agents, but it depends on the type of property and its location. I have for example sold a R28.5 million property in Clifton on a Show Day, so it certainly has its place.

Francesca: It can definitely still be worth it, if it is done right. I still host open houses, but by invitation only for a set time. So not a full Sunday show day, with pointer boards advertising for all to come in. It is vital for security reasons to know who is coming, and it is more manageable, especially for the sellers. Sellers go through a lot of trouble to prepare their homes, remove pets, and entertain the kids while the agent shows their home; if we can bring many buyers in a time suited to the seller, we don’t have to go multiple times to show buyers one by one.

Pearl: We only host open houses full title listings (sole mandates) but find that these generally only generate sellers, we hardly ever find solid buyers through open houses, and due to security and Covid we believe the practise has diminished in popularity.

What about social media?

Jo: The world of real estate has been irrevocably changed by the advances in digital and social media. You can showcase so much more via digital and social media compared to the world of print. It is also interactive and hence, these have become vital marketing tools for estate agents. I was an early adopter, and these tools are key aspects of my business. I mainly use Instagram, and sometimes Facebook.

Francesca: Yes, we do. Social media is an essential tool to increase the reach of our network. For example, we can reach more people through our property ads on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. And amplify our client testimonials and value-for-money offering with a broader network. We currently focus on Facebook, but Instagram is growing.

Pearl: We make use of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Each platform is aimed at a different market and not necessarily aimed at generating leads, but rather keeping existing leads engaged and in the sales funnel.

Do you make use of emailers? 

Jo: A key advantage of emailers is that it makes it easy for prospective clients to keep updated with property news or to be alerted to new listings. People do not always have the time to go onto news sites to read or research. Emailers are indeed an excellent tool for estate agents and I find that many of our clients in fact do like to be kept up to date via email with our latest listings and market related trends.

Francesca: We only use emails as part of our service offering. We do not currently have a newsletter and only send emails with newly listed properties to clients who have registered to receive them.

Pearl: Yes, we do, we have general mailers focusing on information sharing and mailers focussing on available properties to rent or for sale.

The benefits of good service and consistency

Jo: Real Estate, just like any other business, is all about consistency. Focus on the basics, always put the client first, and keep at it.

Francesca: When buyers and sellers have a good experience, they like to tell friends and family, refer you, and call you back years later when they decide to buy or sell again. So being in the game for a long time means you generate a lot of return and referral clients.

Pearl: It’s essential to have a solid marketing and communication strategy in place with a team of professionals who can obtain, nurture, and convert leads into sales. Once a sale has been made, the new client should be treated impeccably to ensure their experience remains positive and they become brand ambassadors and long-term clients.

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